Browse Tag: design

Spring Living Room Flip

Some people call it being a feminist, others being stubborn… it seems when I have an entire day to myself at home I end up flipping furniture around and taking on a task that is far beyond my physical ability. But do I ask for help? Naaaa I want to enjoy the pride in saying I did it all myself. I can take my time, I can move it five times without someone else saying “really? moving it again?!” Its something I do to feel better, to lift my spirits.

I love my hutch but I felt it was getting lost in the wall on the opposite side of the room, basically if I sat on my futon I wouldn’t be able to see it. I am not a big tv watcher, quite frankly I don’t have cable or satellite just a hard drive that I can play some movies on. If I do I am generally doing other tasks while it plays in the background. The view out my living room window is beautiful, especially in Spring with the rushing water flowing down from the mill through the trees. Where my futon was before I could not see this view.

I love my apple green chair that my mom and I reupholstered a few years ago and wanted it to be more predominant in my home. With all the plant life and hints of green here and there I thought it might blend into the colour scheme nicely. Although these are the colours the space are year ’round, in Spring it just feels so much more lush.



Flipping a 100 Year Old Desk

For a few months my sewing and jewellery studio has been in shambles as I wanted to repurpose the hutch I had refinished into two separate pieces. The base was far better suited for me as a computer desk now located downstairs in my bedroom. The top half of the hutch stores my bead containers so I needed a surface for that to sit on. Its rather large but I managed to find a simple base table for it.

Then came the issue of needing a table or desk for my sewing machine and newly added serger (a gift from my mother’s friend Margaret). I had been distracted with other things for a few months and would pass by the room, look at all the bags of things on the floor and immediately walk back out.

One day it came up in conversation that I was still waiting for the right piece of furniture for the space that wasn’t too big that could work for a sewing desk. My dad mentioned a piece of furniture that was pulled out of an old Masonic Lodge building that had closed that he was using out in the barn for woodworking materials.

We went out to look at it and I thought, hmm that could work! Naturally he said I could change it any way that I wanted, you had to know that would be my first question. The surface was very scratched and rough from 100 years of use in the main foyer of the lodge. I’m always attracted to the unique shape of older furniture so I could see definite potential!

I grabbed the only can of white paint left in the house and began to work away at it. The tricky part about painting a dark stained piece of furniture stark white is that it bleeds through. About three coats were done, to be honest a fourth couldn’t hurt. The drawer is still a mystery to me as in two places it is leaking through the white bright blue.

Its honestly the strangest thing no matter how many layers of white paint it still leaking through blue! Oh well, adds character right?


Bedroom Renovation Complete!

My bedroom is finally back in order! Let me take you through a walk from the day I first looked at the house to now.

The basement “rec room” had an awkwardly placed feature wall with very high contrast black and white damask stick wallpaper. The kind that is one solid sticker, super thick and supposedly easy to get off… provided the wall isn’t wet perhaps! The previous owner’s staging featured brown, apple green and black furniture to make it look like the wall blended in, for me it was an eye sore as I have nothing black.


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I decide this is the right house for me and figuring out what room is what is my hardest decision to make. I’ve never had so much space for just me! I ultimately decided to have this large rec room as my bedroom as it has no windows (don’t worry it has three doors!) with an adjacent bathroom and the opposite room could be my wardrobe. The staging had this room as a rec room and the opposite room as a bedroom.


The carpets were disgusting housing many cats for 30 years, you can imagine the smell… if I was to live here the first thing that would have to go is those carpets as I’m allergic to cats and couldn’t tolerate the urine smell. The moment the carpets were rolled up in a pile in the driveway the smell was gone! It made a world of difference. My dad spent the next few weeks on his hands and knees filling the cement floor with sealant so it wouldn’t be so broken and full of holes. Lots of floor filler to try and make it smooth instead of slanted. 
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As I’m sitting on the floor waiting for my Dad to cut more pieces of laminate, I thought I’d get to work on that wallpaper. I start pulling and notice the wall is discoloured underneath, wet and I’m pulling off sheets of paint along with the wallpaper. Next comes the stench of wet dry wall. Perfect. We knew in advance there was likely going to be water damage despite the previous owner assuring us that the porch built outside this room was professionally sealed – it wasn’t, no sealant of any kind… Hello water!! 
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My dad finished the floor but the wall remained in this chipped away look for a few months until we decided what the next step would be. The porch had to be fixed and this wall needed addressing. Although before this I thought that it being cold in this room was simply because the room under the porch wasn’t insulated (nor the bedroom wall for that matter) As it turns out there was a lot more work to be done than I bargained for. 
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Thankfully I work with a woman whose family is in the home building – maintenance business! Her son took on the job of “keeping Pam warm” by properly finishing the cement porch above then ripping out the damaged wall and rebuilding it with new insulation and framing as well as a new door frame. Once the structure was redone  a fresh coat of paint really made a world of difference in giving life back to the room. Lesson learned about paint, always physically go into the paint store to see the paint, looking at the colour online is a whole different ballpark. This colour was originally neon – “Cucumber” online looked like a soft greyish green. In person it was very vibrant and definitely not the colour I wanted.


reno2 As it turned out even adding a lot of grey into the original Cucumber colour it looks different depending on which wall you are looking at because the lighting is very different. I have two dimmer lights, a very yellow toned overhead light and one fluorescent tube style one in the back room. It can look very grey or more green depending on where you are. I took this opportunity to rearrange the room a bit, keeping the elements I liked from my previous setup but adding part of the hutch from upstairs and moving it downstairs as my computer desk.

Note to self: hire boyfriend for moving furniture, some things you have to admit you shouldn’t do alone.

Full Colour or Bust!

brightfloralskirt Ah yes, a new favourite! I’m sure I say this in every post, but its okay to have a ton of favourite newly-created looks!

Much like most of my other outfits, these pieces had to be altered in order to suit my body shape. This New York & Co floral skirt really didn’t fit at all when I tried it on, but every now and then there are pieces that you just have to have no matter how much work they will involve in the end. I took it in two inches to make it a high waisted style and brought up the hem about the same amount so it came closer to the knee. Anything past the knee on my height makes me look frumpy.

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Mad for Magenta

orangemagentamix I saw this top at Value Village once when shopping with my mother and a friend (whom I ran into while I was there go figure!) and as I recall its by Reitmans, a large. Unfortunately it was quite a big large in the shoulders but I began tinkering with it in the mirror at the end of an isle as my mother walks by and nods “Yup its do-able” … she knew what was going through my head.

I still find it amusing and somewhat rewarding that after 29 years I was able to teach my mother something instead of the reverse. In being gutsy and bold, I feel no risk in cutting into an item of clothing, no remorse if I start stitching this and that. Without knowing the official “rules” of sewing and alterations, I am able to do things like this. Now more and more my mother is excited to tell me she altered something thinking like I would!

Just the other day she was fussing with a dress, one of these fabulous multi print – mixed fabric numbers by Desigual – unfortunately with our 5’2 height they can be very hard to pull off without looking even shorter. I came over and started analyzing it after she gave me the few thoughts she had. I grabbed it on both sides below the waist and hemmed it with pins temporarily. “Just needs to go up here so you don’t lose all the bottom details”… “Ha!” she says, “I knew you’d know how to fix it.”

This top wasn’t all that complicated to alter. Yes its a knit, and we don’t “alter” sweaters… this girl does.

Based on having very narrow shoulders and a small frame, I simply put somewhat of a dart down the back of the shoulder equally on both sides. When I wore it to work no one even realized that changes had been made. Yes looking at this photo you can see that the original seams don’t line up the way a normal shoulder does, but its something that only I would notice. Paired with this fun infinity scarf and my favourite bright orange GAP skirt – couldn’t help but wear my magenta pumps to be super matchy-matchy!

The Quarterly Re-Arrangement

livingroom3 It seems every 4 months I feel the urge to rejuvenate myself through changing my home. At last look in September I repainted some of my existing furniture to blend into the space better. I had been quite busy with work and travel so I hadn’t thought too much more about changing it up but recently I started feeling my slump and decided to redo the living room. Usually these are a catastrophe because I make the decision to change late in the day on let’s say a Sunday.


livingroom1This time however it was a gorgeous sunny summer-like day in May and thought, hey, I’m going to draw out some ideas first! Sadly the furniture never fits quite like your drawing suggests but it was a new look that I was feeling regardless. Unfortunately my futon is much larger than I think it is, so the diagonal across the corner space was just not plausible. One day when a smallish couch comes into my life the design will work better. I also made a huge change, not so huge to me but shocking to most people. I removed my tv from my living room! I wasn’t using it anyway, and I prefer the feel of the room without all seating facing this big black screen. So it has found a home at my parent’s house.

livingroom2 With the tv gone I was free to utilize the lovely storage unit for a more aesthetic purpose: my plants! My mother has been loading me up with potted beauties now that I’ve started learning how not to kill them! I absolutely love the space now because of all the green, it feels so inviting. My chairs are now in a cozy conversational setting – it all just feels cozy! I think this is my favourite setup so far it really feels good.
bedroom I also took advantage of the disaster that is me organizing my house – to redesign the bedroom too! Over the years I’ve started piecing together bedding in my favourite colour palette: brown, green and turquoise. Much like the mixed prints in the living room I apply the same technique in my bedding. I swapped out the curtains for a sheer light print – which occasionally requires me to wear a mask over my eyes to sleep but for the most part it really opens up the room! The bright sunshine makes this small dark room a whole new space! I changed all my clear plastic boxes (for my bead storage) to transparent green which makes the room pop too!

 

Vintage Redesign

vintageredesign1 My greatest regret with this dress is that it did not occur to me almost 4 years ago to take a “before” photograph. Although in my mind the original dress I can see clear as day. Big boxy style, long sleeved and bursting with colour. It was the first dress I ever attempted to redesign and to this day, I consider it to be the greatest success.

The strips down the sides of the dress are the original sleeves. As sadly I don’t know what body could have fit into the original dress the top half was massive and the bottom couldn’t fit over my thighs! A few quick snips and insertion into the side seams fixed that problem easy enough, also it adds a little more fun in the design.

vintageredesign3The neckline was really unique and I wanted to keep the original base design. Cutting out the sleeves strategically left a really unique arrangement at the neck for structure. The only issue I’ve had with this dress (aside from the fact that its such a light fabric I can only wear it in the dead heat of summer) is that it has loose hanging fabric in the front. Now maybe on some body types it is quite flattering, but on me it just felt awkward. When I first wore the dress a few years back I simply tucked it into my belt… now I finally decided to fix the issue and sew it right down where it was most flattering – but still keeping a similar drape effect.

vintageredesign2 My favourite way to accessorize this dress is with gold, a micro belt, earrings or a loud necklace perhaps – although honestly the dress speaks for itself and hardly needs enhancement! I did a #tbt Throwback Thursday on Instagram to this dress when it was first redesigned, and decided seeing as the weather was gorgeous I would bring it out of the back of the closet! This time though, it dawned on me that I had left my gold flip flops in Cuba the last time I went on a trip! Ohhhh dear.

From Flare to Straight

GAP JeansYou know that feeling you have when you try on a pair of jeans and they feel amazing? No pinching, no crotch-biters, no saggy lines, no muffin top… They just look awesome?

I recently discovered by chance the perfect fit jeans for me, GAP 1968 “Sexy Boyfriend” jeans are it. Now these bad boys retail for $80, which I wouldn’t pay even if they were the greatest fit ever, that’s just not me. But $20 at our store? Hells yeah! So my first pair made me deliriously happy, so I went to Value Village on a hunt for this particular pair of jeans. To my surprise that first attempt I found one pair that were also a form of boyfriend jean, in a lighter denim, and a second pair that were a more flared leg style.

Unfortunately with my height, I can not easily pull off a flared leg or the “long and lean” style simply because my feet are barely a size 6. The leg width swallows up my tiny feet! So the jeans I found on my hunt fit great at the hip and thigh which is my hardest place to fit first try without alterations. I wore them once to work but felt like they weren’t quite right. It occurred to me a month later the issue was just that my feet are too small.

Having discovered the issue I was able to test out a solution: transforming the flared leg into a straight leg. I’m certainly you just tilted your head to the side and said “Whaaaa?”

Altering Jeans Altering Jeans
Having Saturday to myself I put them on and began to pin. I wasn’t quite sure what I would need to do but I thought pinning folds would be a good place to start. I ended up doing the legs differently at first, and when I sat down to sew noticed that one was folded nicely with the original seam hiding the fold. So by the time I went to sew the second leg I redid the pinning to have the same finish.

Altering Jeans Altering Jeans

With the denim being dark it hides any sort of flaw in the stitching or folds from the dart I installed near the knee. The end result I was actually really impressed with, you do not see the fold at the top, and the bottom is folded over so it is rather seamless!

The White Aztec Dress

White Aztec Dress White Aztec Dress

My newest addition to the dress section of my wardrobe! Let me introduce to you this size large (haha!) sleeveless white dress with high neckline and bold black/gold Aztec print. It blew my mind when I saw the label was Seduction (?!) Not often does that brand make such a cool dress but here’s a great example of how a dress print should be done: completely around the entire dress – none of this front only print nonsense. I was very surprised at this factor alone, normally all the sequin tops and vibrant print pieces I find are made in the lazy fashion only visible on one side. Of course that’s great if you only expect to face the public dead on at all times.

White was never my favourite colour but as I discussed in this post it is now one of my favourite colours or lack of colour… Now I’m drawn to it because of its crisp, clean appearance. White is not a colour you can often find in good condition when you thrift however this gem was brand new with the original tags on it! Not that it was an expensive dress to begin with, but still I got it for half of the retail store’s original price tag! I suspect the reason it appeared at Value Village this weekend was because of the size, which as you know I’m not a strong believer in. Sure enough I eye-balled it perfectly, any smaller and it would not go over these hips! It does however need a slight adjustment under the arms as it gives extra fabric to having a larger chest than I do. All in all a minor adjustment to make for such a cool number!

To make it a little more put-together for the office I paired it with a new cardigan and the white flats I was intending to butcher some day soon. My glue gun has not yet arrived so until then I’ll wear them as is! Jewellery for this is quite simple just a hint of gold bangles and silver earrings. Nice and sweet!

The White Butterfly Dress

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail White was never a popular choice for me, in fact, I avoided it like the plague. Like most women, black was the go-to colour almost to the point of having 90% of my closet of this absence of colour. Its funny how your preferences change over time. White is now a staple in my wardrobe especially in the summer months. It just seems to add cheer to my day being in such a fresh, clean, crisp colour. Say this to me a year ago I would have shook my head and walked away in my black dress pants and black blazer.

The dress I’m wearing today is perhaps a little soon, but looking at the 17 degree weather tomorrow (middle of March?!) was the push I needed to wear a lighter fabric and bare the legs. I find this dress really pops when you have a tan so I try to keep the pasty legs a more healthy colour with shimmery tanning lotion. Works wonders!

I picked this up many moons ago in Value Village during my black phase – but there was something truly unique and exciting about the style. Not that I’m particularly a huge fan of butterflies the design is rather interesting as it is not exactly a true butterfly when you look closely. I love the silk screen look but this dress takes it to the next level combining the aesthetic of silk screen with digital vector graphics. Each “wing” as it were, is a combination of circles, dots, patterns and textures. Some of the butterflies aren’t even butterflies, just wings loose in the design. Very cool!

The shoes were actually the first decision of the day, as I haven’t worn these yet – the dress was an after thought! Simple black wedges, Bravo Browns. Again a label I’ve never heard of… Only $3.50 on a half price day. Nothing like generic black shoes to wear with anything and everything!

The New Living Room

Brown Suedette Couch Brown Suedette Couch


My latest addition to Apartment 302 is this brown suedette sectional couch. I have never seen anything like it but according to the woman that sold it to me, its from Ikea. I highly doubt this but either way I just wanted it for the fit. It is completely separate sections, each with a storage base and top. You can style it any way that you like, so if I moved or wanted to change up my space, I could easily rearrange each piece.

I found this fantastic item on Kijiji in Medicine Hat. Kijiji is a wonderful resource for thrifters. Not only is the service free, but its available in basically every city I’ve ever encountered!

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